Stress is a part of life! That is an undisputed fact. But did you know that stress can actually be a good thing? It can help with our motivation, effort and even performance. However, when stress becomes overwhelming or prolonged, it can negatively affect our health, attitude and performance at work and in life.
There are a lot of things that can contribute to our sense of stress. One big contributor is being surrounded by negativity. And it certainly feels like we have been surrounded by a lot of that lately! Watching the news, being around people who are struggling with burnout, using negative self talk tends to intensify the feelings of hopelessness, stress and chance of burnout.
What can we do? It can be helpful to try to counteract negativity with positivity. A simple idea is to seek out positive, funny and heartwarming stories. Besides being entertaining, these stories will give you a boost of positive endorphins! Stress is a part of life. We can’t eliminate stress (nor should we) but we do have control of what we do when we feel stressed. This can make a huge impact on our well-being during stressful times and calmer times too!
When we feel stressed, we can easily slip into some patterns:
- Staying up late watching Netflix
- Eating a tub of ice cream
- Skipping our usual post supper walk around the block
- Loading up on caffeine
- Scrolling social media endlessly
Sound familiar? While these may feel good for awhile, over time they actually may not help with our stress at all. It can be more important than ever to try to stick to good habits when we are stressed, even when we don’t feel like it.
Next time you are stressed, consider the following suggestions:
- Stick to a regular bedtime routine and get enough sleep.
- Slip in some healthy foods.
- Don’t overdo it on coffee, chocolate, etc.
- Go for a walk or bike around the block. Do that yoga class. Play outdoor games with your kids.
- Sit in the sunshine.
- Take a deep breath. Try this out!
- Try other positive well-being strategies, such as:
- Have a bath
- Read a good book
Prolonged untreated stress at work can lead to burnout. Burnout is the feeling of exhaustion coupled with a loss of excitement or negative feelings about your job.
According to Kat Boogaard’s article in www.muse.com these are five signs you might be experiencing burnout:
- If you find you can’t get excited about work anymore
- If you’ve stopped putting effort into your tasks
- If your performance has gone down
- If you are unbelievably exhausted
- If you are starting to feel physically sick
Recognizing that you are beginning to burn out is very important! If any of these five signs resonate with you, think about what is within your control that could reduce your stress. For example, talking to someone, practicing self care and coping, figuring out things you could change or ways to reduce your workload, or surrounding yourself with positive people, events and news stories.
Learn about what energizes you and what drains you
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